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Influence of skin cancer on quality of life appears more substantial for women
Date:2/21/2011

Women seem to experience more health-related quality of life issues than men for up to 10 years following a diagnosis of the skin cancer melanoma, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Although the prognosis is relatively good for about 80 percent of patients with melanoma, they remain at risk for disease progression and have an increased risk of developing subsequent melanomas," according to background information in the article from the authors. Previous studies have suggested about one-third of patients with melanoma have reported significant levels of distress. "Therefore, melanoma can be considered a chronic life-threatening disease that may affect patients' lives considerably."

To assess the impact of melanoma on the health-related quality of life of patients for up to 10 years after diagnosis, Cynthia Holterhues, M.D., from Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues, analyzed responses from a Dutch population-based postal survey among patients with melanoma for 1998 to 2008 using the Eindhoven Cancer Registry. Study participants were sent an impact of cancer survey to measure the well-being of long-term cancer survivors. The 41-item survey included questions on physical, psychological, social, existential, meaning of cancer and health worry.

The response rate to the survey was 80 percent (562 participants). The average age of the respondents was about 57 years, 62 percent were female and 76 percent had a melanoma with a thickness of less than 2 millimeters. "Women were significantly more likely to report higher levels of both positive and negative impacts of cancer," the authors write. The lowest scores were on questions about cancer or treatment-related symptoms of the cancer that interferes with a patients' socializing, traveling, or time with family. The highest score was seen on existential, positive outlook subscale, which covers
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Contact: Tamar Nijsten, M.D., Ph.D.
t.nijsten@erasmusmc.nl
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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